The devil hates to be mocked.
And mocked he was this week by the 18-year-old Brandt Jean, who told his brother's killer that he loved her and forgave her before offering to embrace her as a fellow sinner humbled before the Lord of all creation.
Sentenced to 10 years in prison for her crime, she nonetheless raced into his arms as if she had instead won the lottery. For a pearl of great price had just been freely and, most assuredly undeservedly, given to her.
It was a miracle. None of which makes sense without the Gospel of Jesus Christ to interpret it.
Otherwise we are talking about the acts of fools, crazy people or mourners too overcome by grief to understand what they are doing. We know in our bones that our fragile human nature isn't capable of such a thing on its own.
But people are being drawn to Jean's conviction right now in a way that is undeniable for its profound authenticity. They yearn to be filled with the same spirit. Because here the most important of truths has blessedly arrived in the dock for all to taste and see: when confronted with the power and the glory of the good news in full, the least reasonable thing a person can do is deny the gift.
The judge who presided over the case embodied that when, after pausing briefly to consider and reflect upon the awesome and other worldly nature of Jean's request to hug his brother's killer, got out of the way and let the miracle run its course. Amen.
Yet even though redemption had its glorious day, there are still those for whom madness is preferable, just as it was at Calvary. On one side a criminal welcomed into an eternity. On the other side a criminal fecklessly attempting to burn eternity down via the most inane trolling imaginable. There is nothing new under the sun.
That's predictably where the Freedom From Religion Foundation steps into this picture by way of a formal complaint against the aforementioned judge, Tammy Kemp. So moved was she by Jean's example that she herself gave the killer whose trial she oversaw one of her own bibles, saying:
"I have three or four more at home. This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month. Right here. John: 3:16. And this is where you start, 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'...(God) has a purpose for you. This will strengthen you. You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith. You start with this."
Then another hug and a final promise of hope to the convicted: "It's not because I'm good. It's because I believe in Christ. I'm not so good. You haven't done as much as you think you have, and you can be forgiven. You did something bad in one moment in time. What you do now matters."
There is no greater sanity in irrevocably insane circumstances than that. But as I said, the devil hates to be mocked, as do his associates at Freedom From Religion, who are now predictably attempting to claim they are more ethical than God by punishing the judge for her genuine wisdom and mercy.
Which is why, if we truly wish to follow Jean's lead in the days ahead, we should shake the dusty nonsense from our feet when that fiendish organization states that "we believe that our criminal justice system needs more compassion from judges and prosecutors, but here compassion crossed the line into coercion."
Because the only coercive element here are the mostly white god-haters seeking to punish a black judge for recognizing the highest law of all. The law that defines where true freedom can always be found, and defines compassion as a power that can defeat even death itself.
Press releases and court filings from the sniveling scoffers at the likes of Freedom From Religion stand no chance against such power, unless we continue to grant it to them by fearing them more than we love God. And if that's the case, it is we who should be mocked.